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Pre-CME onset fuses: do the STEREO heliospheric imagers hold the clues to the CME onset process?

Harrison, R. A., Davis, C. J. and Davies, J. A. (2009) Pre-CME onset fuses: do the STEREO heliospheric imagers hold the clues to the CME onset process? Solar Physics, 259 (1-2). pp. 277-296. ISSN 0038-0938

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s11207-009-9417-7

Abstract/Summary

Understanding the onset of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) is surely one of the holy grails of solar physics today. Inspection of data from the Heliospheric Imagers (HI), which are part of the SECCHI instrument suite aboard the two NASA STEREO spacecraft, appears to have revealed pre-eruption signatures which may provide valuable evidence for identifying the CME onset mechanism. Specifically, an examination of the HI images has revealed narrow rays comprised of a series of outward-propagating plasma blobs apparently forming near the edge of the streamer belt prior to many CME eruptions. In this pilot study, we inspect a limited dataset to explore the significance of this phenomenon, which we have termed a pre-CME ‘fuse’. Although, the enhanced expulsion of blobs may be consistent with an increase in the release of outward-propagating blobs from the streamers themselves, it could also be interpreted as evidence for interchange reconnection in the period leading to a CME onset. Indeed, it is argued that the latter could even have implications for the end-of-life of CMEs. Thus, the presence of these pre-CME fuses provides evidence that the CME onset mechanism is either related to streamer reconnection processes or the reconnection between closed field lines in the streamer belt and adjacent, open field lines. We investigate the nature of these fuses, including their timing and location with respect to CME launch sites, as well as their speed and topology.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:19476
Publisher:Springer

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